Thursday, October 13, 2011

As long as I decided to start blogging again.... (maybe)

Our other story from the weekend -

We walked back to our seats after communion at church this week and the monkey sat down, picked up her bunny crackers and pulled one out holding it towards my mouth. As she did, she said "Body of Christ, Mommy."

I seriously don't know what to do with this... (Mostly I'm laughing. I'm wondering if I'm supposed to do more than that...)

My husband said it's her early commentary on females in the priesthood.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why Moms should never be proud/boastful

This weekend while our daughter was playing with her friend, her friend told her – "sometimes my Mommy & Daddy get frustrated and yell at me." Our daughter responded – "my parents don’t yell at me, they talk to me." We were feeling really good about this. Till today…

Monkey – sometimes my Mommy and Daddy get frustrated with me
Me – No, sweetie, we don’t.
Monkey – and then they…
Me – what do they do when they get frustrated?
Monkey – they do bad things.

Great! I dropped her at my mother in laws and told her to just go ahead and place the preemptive call to Child Protective Services.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Today's message brought to you by the letter g

I recently noticed that the monkey seems to drop the last “g” a lot – you know, she says: I’m comin’. And what are you doin’ (or more whatcha doin’)? So I thought – ok, she must get this from me. I’ll have to watch that and try not to do it. Then I remembered a friend telling me that my NJ accent came out more when I drank, as I started dropping (droppin’) g’s then. Now I haven’t been drinking (drinkin’) a lot (I actually pretty much gave it up for Lent in a bid to FINALLY lose the last 5 lbs and get back to my pre-baby weight), but I figure drunk is kind of like tired – esp. in speech. So, here’s the thing (thin’). I think I’ve just been tired for two years…


She also repeated me when I said holy crap the other day! The funny part is – in my head, I though, I’m cleaning myself up so I don’t say the other. But then she repeats my new one and I think – well, darn – I don’t want her to say that either! (And this is when I start to realize what a bad speller I am / how much I rely on spell check… Most condemningly, I can’t verbally spell stupid.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Betty Crocker, I aint. Dork? Yes. Yes, that I am.

Why even discuss my absense and irregularity in posting? It's become SO irregular that irregular is, in fact, my regular/norm.

... Yeah...

So anyway, this Mom's group I'm in mentioned doing a recipe exchange this week. Hmm... I thought this was a good idea until I typed it and thought - oh my gosh, is it 1955 already? I mean, I did just say gosh! But I'm going to share anyway as it's the first time I've even opened up blogger in nearly 2 months and this is what I've got.

I do also have toddler non-sequitors. My favorite this week was when she looked at our dog and said, "That's my dog. Sometimes I poke him in the eye." (My husband and I had to hide behind a pillow laughing before we could compose ourselves enough to tell her that was not a nice thing to do.

She's also started telling jokes. Bad jokes, admittedly - the first came from her Elmo if you're happy and you know it book. She looks at you and says - "what do you call banana peels?" (it's supposed to be 2 banana peels, but it's hit or miss if she says that...). "A pair of slippers." Then we laugh like it's the funniest thing we've heard repeated over and over today.

The other one came from my sister in law staying on the banana genre - "why did the banana go to the hostible?" (That's hospital for those of you not fluent in toddler.) The answer is supposed to be 'because it was peeling.' She usually says - "it peeled," which leaves people scratching their head a moment before they get it.

We've tried to branch beyond bananas (and fruit in general) to get her to tell our new favorite worst joke - "How do you make Lady Gaga cry?" (The answer is "Poke her face" (Poker face).) The best we can get is she say - how do you make goo goo ga ga cry? But she doesn't get the punch line (which doesn't work anyway if you've missed the Lady Gaga reference).

Regardless of the awfulness of the jokes, she has caught a few family members by surprise by telling them unsolicited - which is far funnier to us!

OK, so better crocker, here are those recipes. Sorry about the general lack of exactness - that's kinda how I cook...

Chicken salad with grapes, apples & walnuts
Bake chicken flavoring with a small amount of olive oil, herbs de provence (rosemary can substitute), garlic, salt and pepper (350 for 15-20 minutes should work) or use leftover baked chicken.
Amounts below will vary based on the amount of chicken – most important is the 2 to 1 ratio on yogurt to mayo.
1 cut non-fat greek yogurt (regular plain non fat yogurt can substitute)
½ cup low fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Red grapes (halved)
Apple (diced) – I like granny smith
Walnuts, chopped (optional – I no longer include these for the baby)
Combine ingredients and let sit in refrigerator to mix/set (I’ve eaten immediately, but it’s better if it has an hour or two first)

Chicken pesto pasta
1 lb Bowtie pasta (cooked)
1 small jar pesto
Cooked chicken (great use for leftovers – if I’m making it fresh, I usually use just a couple of pieces of chicken breast)- the original recipe recommended shredding. When my daughter was very young and didn’t eat much meat, I pureed it. Now I usually just cube.
Cherry tomatoes (halved)
Combine ingredients and serve. This came from a picky eaters cookbook and has worked very well for my toddler.

Lemon risotto
2 cups Arborio rice
2TBs olive oil
4 TBs butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (you can also buy this frozen to save time)
Fresh rosemary (I use a couple TBs of jarred most of the time)
2 lemons (zested)
1 cup parmesan cheese
7 cups chicken broth (can substitution vegetable for vegetarian dish)
1 cup white wine
Pine nuts (optional – roast on stove for just a couple minutes as they brown quickly)

In a large skillet (med high), cook onions and half rosemary in olive oil and half butter - do not brown. Add Arborio rice and cook for 2-3 minutes till grains begin to become translucent.
Separately, mix broth (I use bullion cubes), wine and the juice from the lemons.
Add broth mixture slowly (recipe says one ladle at a time. I usually add in larger increments) to the rice letting rice absorb the liquid before adding more.
Once all broth is added and absorbed, mix in the remaining butter and parmesan cheese. Add remaining rosemary and lemon zest as garnish (the lemon zest REALLY adds a lot of tanginess) as well as roasted pine nuts if including.

Spaghetti and hidden vegetable sauce
The original recipe made the sauce from scratch. This is the lazy man’s…
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Carrots (1-1.5 large or a handful of baby carrots), uncooked, as finely as your food processor can chop them.
1 Zucchini (uncooked, finely chopped)
Browned ground turkey
Other options in the recipe that I don’t add, included – finely chopped onion or apple.
Serve over spaghetti sauce or, if really adventurous, spaghetti squash.

Yogurt chicken

Marinate boneless skinless chicken breast (ideally cut and pounded) in non fat plain yogurt and dijon mustard (as much yogurt is needed to cover the chicken and then just a TB or two of dijon depending on how much you're making).

Dip the chicken in bread crumbs (I prefer cornflake crumbs myself)

Cook on rack over pan (rather than directly on the pan - this way, you don't need oil in the pan)

350 for 15 minutes (check at 12-15 mins, might take a little longer)

OK, this is a much streamlined variation of something from Paula Dean (I think), but I really love the tanginess from the yogurt mix and the chicken comes out really moist.

The other massively dorky thing I did this week....

I started to create a schedule of all the weekly kids events in the area (I focused on the free library stuff, but put up others too) so that I can post it in the kitchen for ideas on what to do when I'm totally at a loose end and going nuts (we call that every day in my house...).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

ok, ok - I'm back. Worst blogger ever...

Sorry for the pause in your irregularly scheduled operations while we "did" the holidays (and I just didn't feel like posting, darn it!).

Where are we now?

You know I do have stories to tell you, but somehow launching into my diatribe about everyone having a cold through Christmas, then getting 30 inches of snow while visiting my Mom, followed by the baby getting some sort of stomach virus the middle of Mon night/Tues morn before we started the drive back south (with the REST OF HUMANITY, mind you!), which took 8 hours instead of 4-5 - though admittedly that was because of the long stop when the monkey projectile vomitted... Well, that just seems wrong now doesn't it? (Um, did that count as a rant?)

Anyway - though it does provide a more colorful anecdote, it's not a really good picture of our Christmas, as truly - it was rather nice (minus masses of mucus and ... oh, sorry, sorry!). After all the flurry of getting ready (why didn't I start earlier?), we were actually mostly ready for Christmas when it came.

Santa came to our house on the morning of the 24th and we opened gifts with our own little family then. It was nice and fun. The monkey got a play-doh grocery store "kit" that Mommy and Daddy really wanted to play with (funny how Santa knows! And why didn't they have things this cool when I was this age?) as well as a few other small toys (many of which are already driving me nuts!) and one spring dress (with matching dress for a doll!) that I couldn't resist. So nothing too too crazy. We knew too too crazy was coming yet!

That afternoon we went to church (where the monkey who loves opening and closing things discovered the fly on Daddy's pants - "ooh, zipper!" and started opening it while the woman sitting next to my husband tried to contain her laughter. Seriously, he's thinking - look, I swear I didn't teach her this! Please don't call protective services! while he tried to redirect.) and headed to my in-laws for dinner and the first round of family and gifts.

The monkey made out like a bandit, of course! And got into the gift opening (though she likes paper and boxes best) - so she just started opening everyone's presents. It was actually rather fun to watch (and luckily she's the only kid there, so no one cared).

The next morning we did the trek up to my Mom's and just had time to unload the car and get dressed before heading to see one side of the family for dinner. After dinner (and more presents for the monkey there), we headed to other side for dessert (and my New Year's resolution will involve not eating that twice in a day this year...) and, you guessed it, more presents!

After staying up too late a 2nd night in a row, we took her back to my Mom's and hoped for sleep. We got... some. As it was Sunday, we were back at church again and then - time for presents with my Mom! Sadly by this point the monkey was actually starting to weary of getting gifts. She just wanted to play with what she had - and nap! I think she was a bit overwhelmed - I mean, she had one of those ride in electric cars at my Mom's! (It was a hand me down rather than an actual gift, but it was in great condition and, seriously, who cares?) We had to stop midway through gift opening for a nap and dinner and she finally made it through. (I didn't want to push - opening gifts is really supposed to be a FUN activity! Not work!)

Given the plague on our house (ok, a cold) and the "snow-icane" (i.e. blizzard of 30 inches), we were pretty well quarantined the rest of the trip.

And there you have it.

Did I live up to the hype? Yeah, probably not... ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's anecdote where I tell the mechanic he's full of it but then realize he's still working on my car and hope he doesn't cut my brake lines....

The anecdote of the day:

I went to get my oil changed today at about 6K from my last change (my dealer recommended is 6k and I have an oil life monitor that told me I still had 15% oil life (the light went on yesterday) and I've read several articles recently that you really can go much longer than what Jiffy Lube tells you as we use synthetic or synthetic blend oil). The guy tries his typical upsell on air filters and fuel injection cleaning. Nope, I'm good. Then he comes back in from the garage a little while later (he's the manager)

Dude: (Chastisingly said in the someone was a bad girl voice) Somebody went 3K over their 3000 mile change.
Me: My oil life monitor showed 15% and my dealer recommends 6K.
Dude: But you should really still do 3K. It's better for your car.
Me: (Laughing) You're full of it. (oops was that out loud?)
Dude: No really - the dirty oil is wearing on your engine and making your engine wear out faster. The dealers want your engine to wear out sooner so you have to buy a new car sooner. They're seeing a lot of 2000 and 2004 Fords now whose engines are worn out because of that. (By the way - yes, the dealer wants you to buy a new car sooner, but if my engine is totally dead after 6 years and 70-80K when I've done their recommended maintenance, you can be darn sure that the car I buy won't be the same one! So it's theoretically possible that that isn't actually their strategy.... hmm....)
Me: Yeah, but that's a Ford. Show that to me on a Toyota or Honda.
Dude: yeah, true. (pause) But really - the dirty oil is bad for the engine (or something).
Technician (the guy probably actually working on my car who happened out front): Here's the deal - if you use real oil, that last about 3K. If you use a synthetic blend - 5-6K. A full synthetic - 8-10K.
Me: And which did you just put in my car?
Technician: A synthetic blend. (At this point I look over at the manager again who must be seething, but who's really got nothing now.)
Dude: Yeah, but I still change mine every 3K.
(I bite my lip from asking his price v. mine.)
Technician: Some people still do, but you don’t really need to.

Then I go to leave and he tries to charge me $10 more than he quoted over the phone. I got him to honor the price though he told me that I needed to make sure to print the coupon online the next time (this has never before been necessary).

Sigh... Really wish I knew anything about cars - it'd make these conversations so much more fun. I should have been an engineer. Do they have to take lab science in college?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

planes, train and automobiles - and a crapload of work to do before that!

Sorry I've been MIA. Work got totally crazy as I've gotten a ton more responsibilities (and no more time to do them in - ugh). And then we went to Florida for my cousin's wedding. The trip was a ton of fun, but I'll just go ahead and weigh in on TSA with the rest of America now...

My complaint is not so much about the new xray scanners or pat downs, but on profiling. I realize that my toddler who SCREAMED her way through the TSA line (happily most passengers just noted to us that she was only expressing what we were all feeling) probably did do the most to "terrorize" other passengers (and cause terror - you're not on MY flight, are you?), but that does not make her a "terrorist." Seriously, does my 21 month old fit a profile? I know we all have to take off our shoes and everyone hates it, but it poses a threat - and all that stuff. But, see, her shoes are small - not even a foot long (no pun intended) so is it completely necessary for her to take them off when she REALLY doesn't want to (and I mean really!) while you take her milk away from her (ok, so it's possible that when you did that she did start to sound very threatening - but I don't think she's actually part of an organized group on this front).

On our way out, TSA was testing new screening procedures - with a long line of travellers and ONE agent checking IDs. I'd just gone for a new license that week (which I did not know was going to be mailed to me or I would have waited. As an aside, it arrived and I look SERIOUSLY psychotic in the picture. I know everyone complains about the pictures, but this is horrifying!), so, after an hour or so of wrangling a toddler in line, I handed over my old (not expired, just old) license with the paperwork from the DMV that meant it was still valid. I never should have handed over the paperwork. They never would have noticed the "void" stamp (I hadn't noticed it till just then). They called a supervisor who needed to call a monitor. After 7 calls, he hadn't answered the phone yet. My husband looked at the agent and said - wow, so if you guys had a real problem, I guess they just hang you out to dry. The agent, with no sense of humor, said - no, they would NOT. They come as fast as they can. (Well, how do they do that if they don't answer the phone?) Finally the monitor came and after I gave him some secondary ID (credit cards), he decided that the 30 something woman of Irish decent traveling with her family was probably not actually all that big a risk and I could go. (OK, yes, I know they need to double check these things and really would have been much more accepting if we hadn't had to wait SO long to get that far. Or maybe if we hadn't had to stand to the side with a TSA agent guarding us as my overtired toddler tried to make a run for it.)

Then we went through security (see shoes and milk note above). We got to FL and realized we'd made a reservation with the shadiest of all shady offsite rental car places (U Save - avoid them like the plague!!!) and cancelled it. When my husband said - you guys are shady (they had tons of hidden fees and were totally unprofessional), the guy at the counter told him that if he made one more comment, he'd be walking back to the terminal and he was going to follow us outside to ensure that no comments were made. Oh sheesh.

The vacation as good - though busy! The monkey enjoyed the beach a lot (though we did get kicked out of the pool at my Mom's place since she had a swim diaper on. This is south Florida - my husband joked that more of the adults have diapers on than kids!).

TSA was slightly less exhausting on the way back. I didn't hand over the paperwork with my license and they didn't notice the void stamp. We did have the shoes and milk issues again - ugh. Happily they did not make us go through the new scanners though - I have since looked them up and I'm pretty sure that the x-rays are safe, but I really hadn' researched in advance and just didn't want to walk the baby through that. Also, you have to walk through and stand like the DaVinci man - arms out, feet apart. How does one explain that to a toddler - who wants you to carry her? Thank goodness we just did metal detectors! I mean, what if she got the pat down instead? Who knows what she's transporting in that diaper? Actually... I found out later as we didn't want to wake her from her nap till we had to put her in the car even though we knew her diaper was full, so when she got outside and the cold air hit her (and inspired her), she peed all over me! Welcome home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope your travels go well!